MAGNA CHARTA. The great charter. The name of an instrument granted by King John, June 19, 1215, which secured to the English people many liberties which had before been invaded, and provided against many abuses which before rendered liberty a mere name.
2. It is divided into thirty-eight chapters,: 1. To the which relate as follows, namely: freedom of the church and ecclesiastical persons. 2. To the nobility, knights' service, &c. 3. Heirs and their being in ward. 4. Guardians for heirs within age, who are to commit no waste. 5. To the land and other property of heirs, and the delivery of them up when the heirs are of age. 6. The marriage of heirs. 7. Dower of women in the lands of their husbands. 8. Sheriffs and their bailiffs. 9. To the ancient liberties of London and other cities. 10. To distress for rent. 11. The court of common pleas, which is to be located. 12. The assise on disseisin of lands. 13. Assises of darein presentments, brought by ecclesiastics. 14. The amercement of a freeman for a fault. 15. The making of bridges by towns. 16. Provisions for repairing sea banks and sewers. 17. Forbids sheriffs and coroners to hold pleas of the crown. 18. Prefers the king's debt when the debtor dies insolvent. 19. To the purveyance of the king's house. 20. To the castleguard. 21. To the manner of taking property for public use. 22. To the lands of felons, which the king is to have for a year and a day, and afterwards the lord of the fee. 23. To weirs which are to be put down in rivers. 24. To the writ of praecipe in capite for lords against tenants offering wrong, &c. 25. To measures. 26. To inquisitions of life and member, which are to be granted freely. 27. To knights' service and other ancient tenures. 28. To accusations, which must be under oath. 29. To the freedom of the subject. No freeman shall be disseised of his freehold, imprisoned and condemned, but by judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. 30. To merchant strangers, who are to be civilly treated. 31. To escheats. 32. To the power of selling land by a freeman, which is limited. 33. To patrons of abbeys, &c. 34. To the right of a woman to appeal for the death of her husband. 35. To the time of holding courts. 36. To mortmain. 37. To escuage and subsidy. 88. Confirms every article of the charter. See a copy of Magna Charta in 1 Laws of South Carolina; edited by Judge Cooper, p. 78. In the Penny Magazine for the year 1833, page 229, there is a copy of the original seal of King John, affixed to this instrument, and a specimen of a facsimile of the writing of Magna Charta, beginning at the passage, Nullus liber homo capietur vel imprisonetur, &c. A copy of both may be found in the Magazin Pittoresque, for the year 1834, p. 52, 53. Vide 4 Bl. Com. 423.